Nathan Beenstock
An Oleh Chadash discovering the beauty of Israel

The future of virtual events through TEDxIDC Herzliya

Itamar Sivan speaking for TEDxIDC Herzliya

Throughout COVID-19 pandemic, the live entertainment industry sharply declined in size and scale. While demand for entertaining and informative online content increased drastically as more and more people explore alternative options for in-person social gatherings, industry leaders faced difficulties creating exciting events while upholding new health regulations like social distancing. As a result, many organizers canceled or postponed their events while innovators scrambled to formulate solutions. Against all odds, TEDxIDCHerzliya was the only hybrid TEDx event that occurred in Israel (and one of the few in the entire world) during the pandemic.

One of the leading platforms for online content, TED faced its fair share of challenges. The TEDx initiative – referring to locally organized independent TED events – was significantly impacted. Yet, this did not deter TEDx Organizers Yitzi Zobin and Shimon Packer. These IDC Herzliya graduates were determined to create a unique online TEDx event and offer a glimpse into what the future of entertainment could look like. “Our goal is to create as real of an experience as possible despite the virtual limitations,” they explained.

TEDxIDCHerzliya was created by a core team of IDC Herzliya student volunteers. As students across the world slowly grew accustomed to their new socially distanced lives, they searched for opportunities to gain practical experience while doing something they believed was important. TEDxIDCHerzliya soon became a beacon of optimism for the students, uniting them together for a greater cause.

To prepare for the event, ALL meetings were held via zoom, where organizers discussed speaker selection, speaker training, event design and fundraising.

TEDxIDCHerzliya was not just another TEDx event. Its theme, “The New Millennium,” was the core drive behind the success of the event. A statement on TEDxIDCHerzliya’s website reads as follows:

“People are the technology that makes our new millennium alive. In today’s day and age, most of the Western world has the luxury of a streamlined life from home. The technological advancements we’ve made as a species presents boundless privileges that leave us limitless when it comes down to our capabilities.

From the way we take care of our businesses to the way we take care of our bodies, the new millennium has changed the way we humanize. The world, along with the people who collectively contributed to its greatness, are ever debating the consequences of its progress.”

What made TEDxIDCHerzliya special were the multidimensional elements surrounding the event. The organizing team created podcasts to interview influencers who are shaping the millennium through technology or other social means. Additionally, they expanded the event activities to a global audience by establishing transnational relations with various organizations like Masa UK, SAUJS, UNICEF Latin America, Kth Royal institute of Technology, and more.

Even the fundraising and partnership strategy of the event aligned with the event’s theme. All TEDxIDCHerzliya partners have contributed to the betterment of society through technological or social means. Checkmarx, an Israeli start-up, helps companies protect data through innovative data security technology. Brain Excellence, another start-up, created revolutionary technology to help children with ADHD improve their ability to focus and learn. Magenta Venture Partners, a venture capital firm, focuses on early-stage Israeli technology essential for our millennium such as Automotive, Mobility, AI, Fintech, and Digitalization.

Having overcome bureaucratic red tape, a pandemic and three government lockdowns, TEDxIDCHerzliya finally took place December 21, 2020, when 10 speakers from various fields came together to make TEDx history. These remarkable individuals include:

Daniel Kovler, Forbes 30 Under 30, Founder of Ludus and STEM Education Centers in Israel, former Senior Advisor to Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, discussed innovative education alternatives.

Dr. Hagit Perry, Head of the AI MBA Program at IDC Herzliya, Founder & CEO of Caistag, spoke about the key to successful collaborations between AI and humans.

Adi Cohen, a global nomad architect, entrepreneur and free thinker, explored the possibilities of designing personal freedom.

Prof. Yoav Yair, a renowned atmospheric scientist and Dean of the IDC Herzliya School of Sustainability, spoke passionately about climate change via lightning and “Gia’s Revenge.”

Shelly Varod, Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer of Sexence, gave a sensational talk about sex, the sexual script and introducing technology like AI into the bedroom.

Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, explained the importance of creating a global sustainable food economy with non-genetically engineered meat from one of the most innovative companies of the millennium.

Liran Michaeli, and IDC Herzliya student, shared his personal story of social inclusion and exclusion within our society.

Dr. Itamar Sivan, Quantum Physicist and entrepreneur, thrilled the audience with the power of quantum computing and how it will forever change our species.

Yoseph Hadad, CEO of Together Vouch for Each Other and Arab Digital Content Producer at i24 News, touched the audience with his incredible journey as an Arab-Israeli.

Erez Kaganovich, Photojournalist and human behind projects like “Humans of Tel Aviv,” closed the event with a visual story that made the audience laugh and cry while showing the importance of digital storytelling.

It’s incredible to see how a group of dedicated and persistent volunteers can overcome challenging circumstances to achieve something truly unique, exciting and entertaining. TEDxIDCHerzliya should serve as an inspiration to us all as a symbol of making the impossible, possible.

About the Author
Nathan Beenstock is currently a final year student at IDC Herzliya in business and entrepeneurship and made aliyah from Switzerland a couple of months ago. He is currently trying to build his own business and will be joining the Israeli Army soon!
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